Posted by Joe P. on 12/23/2013
Designing the perfect display for a porcelain doll collection is a favorite pastime of many collectors. Before you embark on creating your own, give careful thought to the size of your collection, the ideal storage environment and the decor of your home. Common solutions include open shelves, individual cases and group dioramas. Displays are limited only by your imagination, so think about creative ways to share your collection, such as adding scenic backdrops or arranging small dolls in an action scene.
Your first decision is choosing between displaying your dolls in closed cases or out in the open. An open display is as easy as finding a safe perch on a shelf or table. This naturalist approach makes your dolls a part of everyday life and encourages interaction. On the other hand, it leaves your collection exposed to dust.
Closed cases offer protection against dirt, grime and fabric-destroying insects, such as moths. When choosing closed cases, decide between individual displays intended to hold one doll or large cases that accommodate a group. Individual cases are easier to coordinate in small or crowded rooms and let each doll be viewed as an individual rather than a sea of crowed faces. Large cases offer opportunities for dynamic group dioramas or action scenes. Modern dioramas emphasize color and design rather than a museum-inspired grouping of dolls by date or manufacturer. These group displays tend to suit smaller dolls better than larger ones, and they work best for diverse collections.
Avoid crowding the display; instead, create a natural scene that gives each doll enough room to be viewed. Never hang your cases below eye level, but consider unusual and novel arrangements. Hanging small cases high on the wall gives the feeling of an artful frieze. Add color and fun to closed displays with scenic backdrops. Wallpaper designed for dollhouses or acid-free copies of illustrations from children's books set a light-hearted tone. Regardless of your display method, give careful consideration to the environment of the room. Avoid basements or attics that are not climate-controlled, and steer clear of sunny spots, since ultraviolet light slowly damages delicate dyes.
If your collection is large, it is often wise to rotate your display with different dolls and keep the rest safely stored. A small display fits in with your home without overwhelming the decor and also limits the exposure of your collection to sunlight. Play around with different ideas until you find the display that not only shows your collection but brings cheer to your home.